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Phytobiome studies

Networks of interactions among plants (phyto), their environment, and complex communities of surrounding organisms (biome) profoundly influence plant and agroecosystem health and productivity are defined as “phytobiome”.

Anticipated changes in global climatic variability leading to more frequent extreme conditions will require adaptations of crops in order to sustain food security. Increased occurrences of severe drought and heat events as well as spreading of soil-borne diseases have become a major problem for crop production.

There is a current need to study the interactions of the crop phytobiome under climate change to reveal and to predict consequences for crop health and productivity. For instance, interactions between multiple stress episodes and of stress types needs further investigation. Understanding of mutualistic and competitive interactions of plants with other organisms and the environment are necessary.

A multidisciplinary approach integrating plant physiological and microbial, biochemical and genetic research will determine limiting variables and optimal acclimation patterns in order to increase crop health, yield and quality.